436 illegal hunting activities in two weeks – Birdlife
Birdlife volunteers recorded 436 illegal hunting incidents in just two weeks of the hunting season, the conservation organisation said yesterday.
The annual autumn raptor camp recorded 224 hunting incidents after the 3pm ban on weekdays and 1pm ban on Sundays, Birdlife conservation manager Nicholas Barbara told a news conference.
The raptor camp, which ends today, records the migration of birds of prey over Malta and illegal hunting incidents in September.
There were 127 incidents where illegal electronic lures were used and 68 instances of protected birds being shot, Mr Barbara said.
Initial data revealed a 40 per cent increase in the number of shot protected birds compared with September 2011. Birdlife received a total of 23 shot birds this year, Mr Barbara said.
Together with the Committee Against Bird Slaughter, Birdlife recorded 119 protected birds had been shot, 28 were recovered and 76 were seen flying with gunshot injuries.
Mr Barbara said these figures were just “the tip of the iceberg” and were only related to incidents that Birdlife were aware of.
The organisation received many more “uncorroborated reports” of shooting at protected birds and other illegal hunting incidents.
Birdlife president Joseph Mangion said the situation was still a “long way from being acceptable”. The Government continued to legislate the trapping of certain species in a “country where we aren’t able to properly enforce,” Mr Mangion said.
Last Wednesday, four Birdlife volunteers said they found the remains of 13 protected birds at Miżieb following a 90-minute search in a small area of the woodland.
Turning to protection, the volunteers noted the presence of police patrols in the countryside but insisted this was still not enough. New regulations were published last Tuesday allowing trappers to catch two bird species this autumn, instead of the one permitted last year, but they will have to abide by much stricter rules.